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SUKKUR: Two mourners died and more than 300 others fell unconscious due to suffocation caused by extremely humid weather conditions in Rohri on Monday night.

The victims were participants in the ‘Taazia Karbala Mualla’, a centuries-old procession taken out on the night intervening the 8th and 9th of Muharram. Hundreds of mourners from across the country, besides thousands of residents of Sukkur, take part in the procession every year for which extraordinary arrangements are made by the organisers and special measures are taken by all relevant departments, district administration and security agencies.

Several hundred participants fell unconscious and taken to various hospitals, medical camps and other health facilities for treatment. Two of them, Yousuf Soomro, 42, a resident of Sangrar town, situated near Rohri, and Jameel Memon, 47, a resident of Bhiriya City of Naushahro Feroze district, died during treatment.

An emergency at all government health facilities had already been declared on account of Matam, the prime feature of Muharram mourning processions.

The procession emerged from the central imambargah, Shahrah-i-Iraq in Rohri late on Monday evening and culminated on Tuesday morning after passing through its route — Karbala Ground, Regal Cinema Road, Shahi Bazaar, Vichoro Chowk, Bedil Bekus Chowk, Pakora Chowk, Dhak Bazaar, Shaikh Muhalla, Memon Muhalla, Karbala Ground — amid tough weather conditions.

All roads leading to the road were tightly sealed to prevent any miscreant from joining in the mourners with ulterior motives.

Published in Dawn October 12th, 2016